Ding Ding & Shi Shi 丁丁與西西 (Taiwan)

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U_93_010.JPGLive Review from Underground 93:
Setlist:
1. Think About It
2. Exit
3. Dictator
4. Sunday Morning
5. It’s a Rainy Day
6. Perfect Life

As is my wont, I walked into a quite hectic Melting Pot to find someone tuning up. This time, it was the group from Taiwan, spending their last night in HK. Melodic chords wormed their way into the relaxed yet buzzing ambience. The (extremely proficient) sound engineer was advising them to stick with the chorus pedal over the distortion. A half hour later, after they were announced on, a mellifluous voice was catching us up to their recent ill-health. To be fair, while they looked a bit worse for the wear, they were still enthused by the sizeable gathering.

The mood-creating chords along with the lilting bongos on Think About It began, paved the way for the singer’s unfathomably tranquil voice to come in and take the leads. With Tori Amos-like restraint, her voice rose and fell, while some clever fingerpicking of barre chords created a charming soundscape. The guitar’s pickup was very sensitive indeed, bringing out the bass notes with great clarity (helped, of course, by the ace sound engineer.) That said, one humbly feels that they should consider adding a bass player, to counterpoint the vocals and round out the sound. Using a megaphone towards the tail-end of Dictator to mix things up a bit, the singer informed us of a songwriting glut they had after graduating.

After asking for the bongos to be turned up, it was increasingly clear that they were having to pull this performance out from elsewhere than their now-depleted energy-reserves. The proceeding songs were, perhaps consequently, deeper; three fairly soft instruments created an atmosphere of marvellous intensity; the sing-along bits on It’s a Rainy Day being good illustrations of this. Finally, and fittingly, Perfect Life – a song about following your heart and being free – had some moments of Steve Van Zandt-esque sweetness. As the lyrics became more despondent, the distortion on the guitar ramped up, finishing off in a calm harmony of guitar and voice.

Shashwati

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